Twelve out of the 15 best-selling passenger cars in the first two months of 2017 were SUVs, a jump from 7 out of 15 for the same period two years ago.
The only ‘cars’ in the mix were the Toyota Corolla, Suzuki Swift, and Holden Commodore, as the list here shows. In the first two months of 2015, Corolla, Commodore, Mazda3, Toyota Yaris, Holden Cruze, Honda Jazz, Mazda2 and Swift were in the top 15.
The appeal of SUVs continues to grow. NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) figures for January-February this year show registrations of 10,325 SUVs of all sizes, a 51 per cent hike over the 6839 logged by the NZTA in the first two months of 2015.
SUVs account for just over 40 per cent of the 25,601 new vehicles registered so far in 2017. Back in 2015 they represented 32 per cent of 21,530 new vehicles logged in January-February of that year.
Overall new vehicle registrations in 2017 are running 19 per cent up on the same period in 2015, buoyed by the demand for SUVs and two- and four-wheel-drive utes.
SUVs are eating away at traditional passenger car numbers. Some stats comparing the drop in registrations of passenger cars in the first two months of 2017 to the same period in 2015:
- Large cars down 34 per cent, from 933 to 620
- Medium cars down 11 per cent, from 1138 to 1014
- Light cars down 30 per cent, from 2940 to 2074
- Small cars down 16 per cent, from 3688 to 3095
Motor Industry Association CEO David Crawford says overall growth in the new vehicle sector continues as expected. “As the 2017 year progresses, market conditions remain unchanged from 2016, with record net immigration, low cost of debt and a strong economy,” he said.
Registrations of 11,785 new vehicles last month was the strongest February on record, up 14.3 per cent (1472 units) on the same month last year. The 11,785 comprised 8052 passenger cars and 3733 commercials. Of the cars, 58 per cent (4654) were SUVs.
Commercials ruled the sales charts, the Ford Ranger adding 664 registrations in February to its 741 in January to continue its reign as New Zealand’s most popular new vehicle. The Toyota Hilux logged 533 registrations to be in second place in February. Third equal were the Holden Colorado ute and Toyota Corolla, each with 351 units.
Registrations this year have so far averaged 12,800 a month. Last year they averaged 12,229 for each of the 12 months. If the monthly growth continues, registrations in 2017 could touch on 153,000 – or roughly 7000 units up on last year’s record 146,753.